Yanafal Tarnils, Sir!

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@compuserve.com)
Date: Thu 02 Feb 1995 - 02:22:50 EET

Andrew Roelson asked for clarification on Yanafal Tarnils "cult duties".

> A priest spends 90% of his time taking care of _cult_ business...

> The duties of an officer are as many and varied as those of a priest.

But if the officer is a priest, then the officer's duties *are* the cult duties. I don't suppose you imagine a Zorak Zoran Death Lord's "cult duties" are entirely separate from his role as a warleader to the trolls. But you seem to wish to make this distinction in the case of a Lunar army officer. I am .: puzzled.

Perhaps you have not seen Tales #12's write-up of the Granite Phalanx. I can readily understand your problem without having a tangible example of the flexibility of a "cult write-up" in front of you. But have you also missed out on the Humakt and Zorak Zoran write-ups? If so, I am puzzled: exactly what have you read to give you this false impression of military cults' "duties"?

"Priestly" duties, per your list:

> leading/performing cult rituals

> teaching cult spirit magic
+ teaching non-cult spirit magic (if time & cult principles allow) + renewing expended rune magics

> teaching cult approved skills

Over to the Army:

> A Lieutenant must know his NCO's, and remain in a good working rela-
> tionship with them. He must know his fellow Lt.s and get along with
> them. He _must_ satisfy his superior(s) with his performance, and the
> performance of his command. He must see to morale, supplies (food,
> armor & weapons), training, heal/arrange for healing, bivouack (sp?
> shelter), discipline (& punishment, if necessary), misc equipment
> (wagons, cordage, etc), & timely payment for his troopers.

And which of these functions would not be necessary for, or performed by, a priest in similar circumstances? He must get along with his initiates, colleagues and superiors (and satisfy them with his flock's orthodoxy and zeal), see to their "morale" (through ritual and ceremonial observance), "supplies" (not tithing to excess, providing whatever the temple happens to contribute to the local economy)... and so on. I cannot see why you draw a dichotomy between the two sets of essentially identical functions.

Re-read the cult write-ups of Humakt, Zorak Zoran, and Granite Phalanx. Then tell me that "cult duties" preclude military service. Or, as you say:

> The Lunar equivalent of a Lieutenant could probably get away with
> dumping much of this on his staff sergeant. A captain could not, he
> has too many administrative details that he must handle personally.
> Who has time to be a priest?

In cult-ese, the Lieutenant is giving 10% of his time to cult duties, the captain nearer 50%. I still don't see the qualitative difference between the "administrative details" that must be handled by a full-time serving Lunar officer and those that must be handled by a full-time serving Lunar priest. Does anybody?

> Let us remember that Duke Yanafal is one of the Seven Mothers. As such
> his cult should be open to those new Lunar followers who have joined
> the cult of the Seven Mothers, and are looking to move more deeply into
> the Lunar way. How can you deny membership in a cult of one of the
> Seven Mothers to 98% of the population of the Empire?

What proportion of the population of the Empire needs to be officers in the Army? What proportion of any civilised nation do you think should be given the means to kill people, but without imposing any restraint on the ways in which those means are exercised? (i.e. should YT cultists be just "armed and dangerous" individuals, or should they play a role within the Empire?). Finally, does your campaign not deny membership in the cult of She Who Waits to 98% of the population of the Empire? Why the heck not? She's one of the Seven Mothers, isn't she? Ditto, Jakaleel. And Danfive. Hell, why not Teelo?

This is similar to asking, "Why couldn't all mediaeval Christians be Crusaders?" Being in the Seven Mothers cult does *not* qualify you to specialise in any one of the seven individual Mothers' cults. They are choosy and particular in who they will accept as members. And not every- one would make a good member of any or all of them.

Reading your comments, I have come to believe you are stuck with a "gamefunctionality"  mindset. The time that a priest must spend tending to his religious obligations is seen as peculiarly different from the time any other responsible individual has to devote to maintaining his own social position. But why? Do none of your characters hold down regular jobs? The problem isn't peculiar to RuneQuest: I can think of many works of fiction where the hero/protagonist is gainfully employed or even "doing his job" throughout the course of the action but for some reason they haven't made it into the role-playing gamers' paradigm of "acceptable role models".

	Ask not: "What can this cult do for my characters?"
	Ask: "Why does this cult exist? What is its social function?"

Hope the above isn't seen as personal invective; I'm genuinely puzzled by the gap between the functional and literal interpretation of cult write- ups. If the Lunar Empire has a wargod *and* an army, why on Earth should there be no connection between the two structures, of cult and state? The Empire makes War with its Army, no? And the Lunar Empire itself can be seen as a State Cult...


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